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Countdown to Christmas, Day 7: People Watching


Day 7: December 18th
Are you a people-watcher? If you’re a writer, you probably are. At this time of the year it can be especially interesting.

There was the little girl in the store who kept asking to use the hand sanitizer that the store supplied for customers. “I want to use the hand sanitizer! Why can’t I use the hand sanitizer? But I want to use the hand sanitizer! Why won’t you let me?” You could hear her insisting all the way down the aisle. Her parents were very patient. I couldn’t help smiling.

Then there were the three angels at the end of the line in the chorus who were swaying to the Christmas carols as they were singing. They were certainly enjoying themselves. Another angel at the other end had halo problems. It kept falling off. She just picked it up and put it back on and kept on singing.

Parents take their kids to the mall for the yearly Santa photo. Will they sit on Santa’s lap? Will they talk to him? Will they look at him? If they talk to him, what will they say?

Working with kids, having your own kids, or just watching kids in action is good preparation for writing for kids and developing characters. “Know your audience,” editors say. What age are you writing for? Spend some time with kids in that age group.

The next time you’re out shopping, slow down just a little and be a people-watcher. Pick out someone who especially catches your eye. When you get home, sit down and write a short story around that character. You never know where it might take you!
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